Endangered Species Act for Pallid Sturgeon
Who decides which species get Endangered Species Act protection?
Under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service oversees the listing and protection of all terrestrial animals and plants as well as freshwater fish. The National Marine Fisheries Service oversees marine fish and wildlife.
How does a species get on the Endangered Species List?
When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service is investigating the health of a species, they look at scientific data collected by local, state and national scientists. The process can be initiated by one of the services, an organization or an individual. In the case of the pallid sturgeon the process was initiated by Mr. X of the South Dakota Sierra Club.
In order to be listed as a candidate, a species has to be found to qualify for protected status under the Endangered Species Act.
Whether or not a species is listed as endangered or threatened then depends on a number of factors, including the urgency and whether adequate protections exist through other means.
When deciding whether a species should be added to the Endangered Species List, the following criteria are evaluated:
- Has a large percentage of the species vital habitat been degraded or destroyed?
- Has the species been over-consumed by commercial, recreational, scientific or educational uses?
- Is the species threatened by disease or predation?
- Do current regulations or legislations inadequately protect the species?
- Are there other manmade factors that threaten the long-term survival of the species?
If scientific research reveals that the answer to one or more of the above questions is yes, then the species can be listed under the Endangered Species Act.